Visions of an old Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog popped into my head a few weeks ago, about the time when people were going bonkers on deals for Black Friday (which apparently now lasts for a week, Cyber Monday, Purple Tuesday, Wicked Wednesday, etc.).

I wondered if the Neiman Marcus catalog had survived the past downturn in the economy, especially its “fantasy” gifts. Have no fear — fantasy gifts (those are the gifts WAY beyond my budget) are still available. However, you’ll have to order them, as they aren’t available in store.

One of the more imposing gifts with a definite high-end interest to gardeners is the 6-foot-tall peacock garden sculpture/topiary. The total size is actually 16 feet, counting the tail. The peacock was designed and created by world-recognized designer Preston Bailey using silk flowers and seasonal plantings.

The large size might not work in our climate with the snow, freezing rain and wind, but there is a smaller, 3-foot-tall indoor version created with silk flowers, crystals and feathers. Both are stunning, but such creativity does come with a price tag. The large version is priced at $65,000, and the smaller version is $25,000. Please note that a 50 percent deposit is required to start.

What you might need to recover from your sticker shock is the Tanqueray No. 10 Imperial Shaker, a 6-foot-tall cocktail shaker. The shaker is a re-creation from a 19th-century drawing. It is crafted from cast iron, brass, copper and silver. The $35,000 price tag does come with a one-year supply of Tanqueray No. 10 and a personal cocktail education session for up to 20 guests presented by a Tanqueray mixologist.

To the credit of Neiman Marcus, a percentage of sales from the fantasy gifts are earmarked to a foundation that supports youth arts education in communities across the country.

While perusing the regular pages of the online catalog, it was fun to allow the creative side of the brain to take over and adapt the glitzy items to fit our Central Oregon lifestyle.

There are still pink flamingos residing in Central Oregon. Could they become our peacocks, festooned with silk flowers and juniper greens, maybe with some rabbit brush added for texture contrast and bundles of miscanthus for a tail? Plastic spray bottles to be used for plant misting could be taped together for a local version of the cocktail shaker. Add a little wrapping of copper wire, and you’ve got a first-class item.

The look of the $698 Western-cut crackled metallic leather boot encrusted with mixed-metal studs could be replicated with a pair of rubber garden boots, flat beads and a hot-glue gun.

I tried to think of an upgrade we could do with garden gloves, but attaching fur trim just didn’t seem practical.

Meanwhile, back on the farm, we need to plant our feet in reality. It’s not that gardeners aren’t worthy of pricey gifts; we’re just more practical.

I’m not sure you would find us camped out in long lines to take advantage of the best price on a 25-pound bag of fertilizer. But I will be the first to promote that anything bagged — organic fertilizer, compost, potting soil, seeding mix or worm castings — is a truly appreciated gift. The giver could even add a certificate to help spread it or pot it.

Gift baskets are always a delight because they can be filled with so many useful items. I use the term basket in a general sense, not just a wicker item. Consider a bright-colored plastic tub, a pail or even a covered plastic container to be used for storing small items. Even a zippered pencil case has merit. I use one for marking pens and plant tags.

A good combination of items that usually mean a trip back to the house if you need them would be scissors, twine, a tape measure or ruler, first-aid spray, bandages, fancy plant markers and a grease pencil (also called a china marker).

A “get-organized” theme could include a garden diary or good quality notebook and a garden-themed 2015 calendar, a clipboard with some graph paper, plus a pencil or mechanical pencil that could somehow be attached to the clipboard.

More ideas include:

• Solar-powered garden lights for someone who has full sun during the day. Full sun is needed for the batteries to recharge.

• A “get started” kit of seed-starting equipment that would include a seed-starting tray with dome, seed-starting mix, plastic spray bottle for misting and a soil thermometer, plus a packet of favorite seeds.

• A collection including garden gloves, a nail brush, garden hand soap, good rich hand cream and lip balm of items we might not buy for ourselves.

• A new gardener would benefit from a decorative folder filled with free gardening brochures, which are available at the OSU Extension Office in Redmond.

• A special gift would be paid tuition for the 2015 Master Gardener training beginning in January. Call 541-548-6088 for more information.

When you give a gift that took time and effort to put together as a themed collection, you show the recipient that you are appreciative of his or her interests.

And, remember, you can never go wrong adding a water bottle, gardening magazine, book or a bar of good chocolate.

Merry Christmas.

— Reporter: douville@bendbroadband.com

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